Jonne Rodenburg

New paper: “Macronutrient application rescues performance of tolerant sorghum genotypes when infected by the parasitic plant striga” (Open Access)

In this study we demonstrate that nutrient availability decreases striga infection levels across host plant genotypes varying in striga tolerance levels. Macronutrients seem to be the main drivers of this observed reduction in striga infection. They improve the photosynthesis rates of striga infected sensitive genotype and even restore those of tolerant sorghum genotypes to striga-free levels. Macronutrients also reduce relative yield losses across the genotypes but while losses remain significant for the sensitive genotype, they are almost entirely cancelled out for the tolerant genotypes.

This is the first study showing that increasing macronutrient supply recovers striga-induced losses when applied to tolerant genotypes. The study shows the potential of employing this approach in striga infested regions in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve crop yields approaching striga free levels.